Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Murihiku: A History of the South Island of New Zealand and the Islands Adjacent and Lying to the South, from 1642 to 1835

[1909 Preface]

Relief from the responsibility which caused 1829 to be made the stopping place of “Murihiku and the Southern Islands” has brought the author back once more to his former employment, rendered all the more enjoyable by the kindly and appreciative criticism which greeted the appearance of his first publication.

The form in which this work is presented to the public differs from the outline of it contained in the preface to the edition of 1907, and many of the anticipations contained therein have not been realized. When its preparation came to be undertaken it was found that no satisfactory historical arrangement could be made, on the basis of dealing with only the southern portion of the South Island. The bay whaling, which succeeded the sealing, was common to the whole Island, and no treatment of it was complete which page XI did not take up the history of the coastline as far north as Cook Strait. This extension of the area for the period following 1829 necessitated going back to the beginning and bringing up to that date the early history of the new area. To enable him to proceed, the author had to retrace his steps, commence with Tasman in 1642 and do for the whole of the South Island (Te Wai Pounamu) what he had already done for the extreme south (Murihiku). This explains the form in which the work is now presented to the reader.

Of the period up to 1829 the added matter is considerable. Chapters have been added giving Tasman's visit, Cook's exploration of the South Island, his five visits to Queen Charlotte Sound, Bellingshausen's visit to Queen Charlotte Sound and D'Urville's exploration of Tasman Bay and discovery of the French Pass. In addition thereto a large quantity of historical matter relating to Otago, the West Coast and Cook Strait, has been woven into the narrative. So far as material is concerned, the Foveaux Strait and southern trade has been found to far exceed that of the remainder of the South Island. On the other hand, the Tables containing the Campbell and Macquarie Island shipping and all the Appendices of the former work have been omitted from this one. Material not taken from its contemporary records has been reduced to a minimum.

The difficulty of discriminating between the northern and southern coast trade of Cook Strait, and of Kapiti and Mana Islands, was overcome by including these places, with the result that, instead of dealing only with the South Island, the Wellington district, the Wellington Harbour and as far north as the 40th parallel, is now within our review.

Even with the extension mentioned, the flax trade cannot be dealt with to the satisfaction of the author. Probably it never will until the whole Dominion is included in the reference. During the time of Te Rauparaha, Kapiti was the centre of this trade, but the port of sailing was seldom mentioned when vessels arrived at Sydney and it is extremely difficult to ascertain whether flax cargoes arriving page XII there came from Kapiti or the extreme north, where also was a small trade in this article. In a work aiming at the accuracy of this one, all voyages, from ports not specified, have to be passed over.

The name of the book is no longer descriptive of the area dealt with. Notwithstanding that the title is confined to the extreme south it has not been deemed advisable, on this occasion, to abandon the designation under which a large quantity of the material first appeared. Should, however, an extension of the work see the light of day at any time hereafter, a name more closely associated with the area dealt with will be used as a title to the publication.

The plan followed in the former work of avoiding Native history, except where it impinged on the European, has been continued, but, coming further north as we have done, a modification has had to be made owing to the altered conditions, and native history which is inseparable from the European has been dealt with. Though the author makes no claim to a knowledge of Maori history he hopes that this publication will enable Maori scholars to date the events they are recording with greater accuracy than they have been able to do in the past. With this object in view, Maori movements, in which Europeans played a part, have been chronicled and the dates given. Any extension of the work will require to deal still more with the Maori. The trade with Kapiti cannot be understood without a knowledge of the migration of the Kawhia natives under Te Rauparaha, its causes and the leaders' schemes. This marvellous military campaign is not dealt with.

The author has not waited until his subject is completed before submitting the results to the public. Fire, disinclination, physical infirmity or death, may, in a moment, prevent the work of years receiving publicity. The first-named has already been experienced by him and the others will come in their appointed course. Publication from time to time of what is available ensures the safety of so much, at any rate, of the work, and gives the public an opportunity, at the earliest possible moment, of sharing in page XIII the discoveries made. There is no reason why early news in the domain of historical research should not be as acceptable to the public as early news of the world's movements generally. Following upon recent publications of historical matter preceding the Treaty of Waitangi, a wider interest is now being manifested in the early history of the country generally. By many, until lately, it was not realised that the South Island had any history worth recording.

The intention was to bring this work down to 1840 and let it end with the beginning of British rule, but the amount of material available, combined with the short time at the author's disposal, has rendered that impossible. The carrying out of that scheme must stand over in the meantime.

The author desires to acknowledge his great indebtedness to those correspondents who have called his attention to errors in the former publication, or to sources of information not made use of. Readers are invited to continue the practice in the present work.

Readers will notice what, without explanation, might be considered a want of proportion in the arrangement of the material. Cook's fifth visit may receive no more notice than the voyage of an insignificant sealing craft fifty years later. The reason for this seeming disrespect to the more important event is that Cook's visit is already well recorded in his Voyages and is only inserted here to give a continuous history, while no other source of information regarding the sealer is open to the reader. This book is a first story of a great mass of matter, which must therefore appear in detail, while it only reproduces much well-known matter, to enable the other to be placed in its proper position historically. Even in recording Cook's visits, however, the journals of the officers are drawn on more than the published narrative of the voyage.

Outside of the matter, the form in which it is submitted calls for a word of explanation. A great quantity of the material has never appeared in book form. On that page XIV account the first object aimed at has been to prepare it for the student of history, to whom it is only acceptable if supplied in language as near the original as possible. As however a publication purely as record matter would not appeal to a large circle of readers, the events are woven into the form of the narrative without too great a sacrifice of the original form. The attempt to combine the historical record and the historical narrative may fail to satisfy either class of reader, but it accounts for the form of the book, and explains why the author obtrudes his own description so little on the reader.

To enable the reader to be his own judge in disputes regarding accuracy, the more important statements have their authorities given at the end of the narrative. An effort has been made to reduce the mass of authorities by giving no reference in cases where the source of information is obviously a Sydney paper of known date.

The author desires specially to express his obligations to Messrs Frederik Muller & Co., of Amsterdam, for procuring a photograph from a private collection of the priceless manuscript chart of New Zealand made by Visscher, Tasman's pilot-major, in 1642–3. Indebtedness to those gentlemen whose names are mentioned in the preface to the edition of 1907, is again acknowledged. To that list are to be added for this work the names of the Hon. James Carroll, Native Minister, Mr. C. A. Ewen, Mr. A. Hamilton, and Mr. J. Cowan, of Wellington, Mr. S. Percy Smith, of New Plymouth, and Captain Lambert, of the s.s. Arahura, Mr. A. H. Turnbull, of Wellington, kindly allowed photographs to be taken of appropriate subjects from his magnificent collection.

It should be noted that the opinion given on pp. 8 and 9, that Tasman's second anchorage was at the Rangitoto Islands, is not supported by Visscher's chart, which arrived just as the book was going to the press.

This edition is limited to 515 copies.

Wellington, New Zealand.
4th May, 1909.